Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras. His career spanned over 50 years, leading his orchestra from 1923 until he died.
He is widely regarded as the most important jazz composer and bandleader, with some admirers even seeing him as America's greatest composer in any musical field, with a vast library of compositions, from pop songs to extended works. The sidemen in his band included many leading jazz soloists, and he influnced many younger performers, from Miles Davis and Charles Mingus to Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan. His career spanned a range of eras, from the !920s Jazz Age to the 1970s, and he performed in a variety of contexts, from Harlem's Cotton Club, where his band made its name with a residency in the late 1920s, to dance halls, jazz clubs, open-air festivals and concert halls. Overseas tours, sometimes supported by the US State Department, took his band all over the world, including performances in such improbable jazz venues as Iran and Afghanistan. He is the subject of numerous books, and a Wikipedia article which gives a full account of his long career.
Links to PeelHumphrey Lyttleton, Peter Clayton and Alan Dell. At the time Ellington's following was largely middle-aged, and he was not fashionable among younger rock fans who, if they listened to jazz, usually preferred newer styles. However, from around 1980 Duke Ellington records began to feature fairly regularly in Peel's playlists, when he played vintage tracks to contrast with the new music which made up the bulk of his programmes.
Peel played tracks from various periods of Ellington's career, including well-known classics such as "Black and Tan Fantasy", "Creole Love Call" and "Mood Indigo", but he returned several times to "Skin Deep", famous as a feature for drummer Louie Bellson and originally issued on two sides of a 78 in 1952. The record made the British Top Ten chart in March 1954, so Peel would have heard it in his youth, as the same chart listing includes records by artists he recalled in later life - Frankie Laine ("Blowing Wild") and the Obernkirchen Children's Choir ("The Happy Wanderer").
Festive Fifty Entries
- Peelenium 1927: Black And Tan Fantasy
Other Shows Played
- 27 November 1979: Saturday Night Function
- 11 August 1981: It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing
- 14 December 1983: Skin Deep (7") Philips
- 13 May 1985: Cotton Club Stomp
- 13 May 1985: Intro
- 16 December 1986 (with Ozie Ware): Santa Claus, Bring Back My Man (v/a LP - The Stash Christmas Album) Stash
- 10 November 1990: Caravan
- 01 December 1990: It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (10" album - Duke Ellington's Greatest) His Master's Voice
- 03 June 1994: Skin Deep
- 25 May 1991: Creole Love Call (The Brunswick Session 1932-1935 Volume 1)
- 15 September 1996 (BFBS): Mood Indigo (unknown album)
- 03 April 1997: Cotton Club Stomp (album - At The Cotton Club)
- 09 October 1997: It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (LP - Duke Ellington's Greatest Hits) His Master's Voice
- 15 July 1999: Black And Tan Fantasy (Peelenium 1927)
- 20 July 2000: Sophisticated Lady (live recording, 1956) (follows Cat Power session version cover)
- July 2000 (FSK): Caravan
- 14 September 2000: Skin Deep () CBS
- 27 March 2001: Mood Indigo (Compilation LP: Heartbreakers 1927-1946/Blue & Lonely) Trikont
- 05 April 2001 (Radio Eins): Mood Indigo (Compilation LP: Heartbreakers 1927-1946/Blue & Lonely) Trikont
- 01 May 2001 (with Al Hibbler): Don't Get Around Much Anymore (78) (No Pig's Big 78 this week, due to JP forgetting to record them over the weekend. By way of small recompense, he plays a shellac tribute to the recently deceased Al Hibbler.)
- 30 May 2001: It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (LP - Duke [[Ellington's Greatest) His Master's Voice
- 07 June 2001 (Radio Eins): It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (LP - Duke [[Ellington's Greatest) His Master's Voice
- 01 May 2002: Skin Deep (Part One) (Pig's Big 78)
- 02 May 2002: Skin Deep (Part 2) (Pig's Big 78)
- 04 July 2002: In A Jam (Pig's Big 78)
- 28 January 2003: Black Out (Vocalion Swing Series) (Pig's Big 78)
- 01 May 2003: The Minor Goes Muggin' (Pig's Big 78)
- 01 October 2003: Dreamy Blues (78) Brunswick (Pig's Big 78)
- 18 November 2003: Live & Love Tonight (Pig's Big 78)
- 05 February 2004: Lady of the Lavender Mist (78) Columbia (Pig's Big 78)
- Peel's Esoterica: The Cotton Club Stomp
- ↑ The artist is unknown; aural evidence indicates that it is not by the Ellington orchestra, or the 1951 R&B hit version by Jimmy Forrest. Wikipedia  points out that the tune "has a long and complicated history", with Forrest and fellow Ellington sideman Johnny Hodges also being credited with its composition.